The History of Surrealism
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000 - 351 pagina's
"I believe," André Breton said, "in the future resolution of the states of dream and reality--in appearance so contradictory--in a sort of absolute reality, or surréalité." The Surrealist movement, born in the 1920s out of the ferment of Dada, committed to revolution against bourgeois rationalism, and inspired by Freudian exploration of the unconscious, has reverberated more widely and deeply than perhaps any other art movement in our century. Its automatism, biomorphic shapes, visionary mode, and manipulation of found objects mark the work of artists as different as Ernst, Miró, Magritte, and Dali.
Maurice Nadeau's History of Surrealism, first published in French in 1944 and in English in 1965, has become a classic. It is both lucid and authoritative--by far the best overall account of this complex movement. Nadeau traces the evolution of Surrealism, bringing to life its many internal debates about politics and art. He relates the movement to its intellectual and artistic environment. And he provides the statements and manifestos of Breton, Aragon, Tzara, and others.
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The movement was envisaged by its founders not as a new artistic school, but as
a means of knowledge, a discovery of continents which had not yet been
systematically explored: the unconscious, the marvelous, the dream, madness, ...
On the other hand, those who possess a lively and rich inspiration henceforth
have the means of translating it into dazzling images, startling comparisons, of
performing, in fact, continuously and no longer in a momentary fashion, the act of
Here we find: 1) We have nothing to do with literature. But we are quite capable, if
need be, of making use of it like everyone else. 2) Surrealism is not a new means
of expression, nor a simpler one, nor even a metaphysic of poetry.
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